ISAIAH 10:1 – 12:6 and TITUS 3:1–15
Like today, the leaders in Isaiah’s days were making laws that were contrary to the laws of God. This results in unjust rulings towards those who are truly needy like widows and the poor. The land suffers under the consequences of wicked rulers. Israel were putting their trust in idols so the Lord asks the question as to how will they would be of help in the day of His visitation. There is false sense of security that is evident in my home country (USA). There is this sense of invincibility. We have had challenges before and we were able to rally so it will be the same in the days to come. There is a stupor over the land, a dullness and desensitized atmosphere. Who will rescue and save when the judgments of God are released upon the earth? This is the question that the Lord is asking in verse 3. I never cease to be amazed at the strong parallels that we see between Isaiah’s day and our own.
Israel continues in their sin and yet the mercy of God is still extended towards them if they would just repent (vs 4). This will be seen when the judgements in Revelation are released. God still pleads in the midst of HIs wrath but the people tend to become even bitterer. There will be no excuses that man will be able to offer when standing before the throne of grace. In verse 5 we get a taste of the cruelty of the Assyrians. In addition, we discover that it is God who is raising them up as an instrument of judgement upon His own people. Let us never forget that God is sovereign and over all things, over all nations and people. He allowed the Assyrians to move against Israel because of their gross idolatry and refusal to obey the laws of God. There will be judgement upon the Assyrians once their usefulness as God’s instrument of judgement is completed. In verses 6-7 we see the Assyrians later moving against Judah and King Hezekiah. In verses 8-11 they (The Assyrians) recognize the call of God upon them to come against Judah. It is a similar account to when God put into the heart of Pharaoh to come against His people as they were about to leave Egypt. God allowed this so that He could bring ultimate judgement upon Egypt while demonstrating His ability to make a way for them where there was no way (Exo 14:4, 14).
In verse 12-16 the Lord makes clear that the stout hearted Assyrians would be judged once His purposes upon Mt. Zion have been accomplished. It was God who allowed the Assyrians to grow in power and have victories against Israel and many other surrounding nations. In the natural they looked formidable and invincible just as the armies of Egypt when they sought to pin Moses and Israel against the Red Sea. When God judged Egypt He did it quickly through the Red Sea. When God moved in judgement against the Assyrians He did it overnight while they slept. If we are in the right place at the right time of God’s purpose and plan, we can believe for supernatural victories. At this moment the power of the Assyrians was growing and they were a force to be reckoned with. Once again, we must never forget that it is God who is in control. In verses 17-19 we see the final stages of Assyria as a nation. When their destruction comes it will be thorough and it will be permanent. There was never a thought that one day Assyria would cease to exist. There is no longer any mention of Assyria as a nation. Its former land is now part of modern day Iraq.
In verses 20-23 we have reference to a remnant that will come forth from the multitude. It is a truth that you see throughout all of scripture; God always has a remnant that allows for the carrying forth of His purpose. Though the Assyrians were gaining in strength the Word of the Lord through Isaiah is that God will have the final say. The Assyrians will not take Zion. Isaiah had the perspective of God and he was able to later counsel King Hezekiah as to how to respond to the threatening words of Sennacherib, King of Assyria. In verses 24-26 the Lord continues to give reassuring words to His people concerning the future demise of the Assyrians. In verse 27 the Word of the Lord again comes to Israel by stating that it is by the anointing that the Lord breaks the yoke. This anointing takes place in one night when the angel of God smites 185,000 Assyrians. It is the anointing of God that breaks bondages and burdens. In verses 28-34 we see the Lord fighting on behalf of Judah and their godly King. These words are being given several years before their fulfilment but we will come to appreciate just how accurate Isaiah’s prophecy was. We also can appreciate the assurance Isaiah had when he counselled King Hezekiah as to what he was to do in the midst of their threat. Isaiah saw the big picture and was given a glimpse of Assyria’s demise long before it occurred. When Hezekiah later seeks the prophet for advice he will receive instruction from the prophet who was shown the end of the matter many years earlier. We will pick up this thought in Isa 36-37.
The term “a branch” is a direct reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. The scripture often emphasizes that Jesus is a descendant of David. It speaks of the fruitfulness that Christ will bring forth as He goes about glorifying His Father. In verse 2 we see the anointing of the 7 spirits of God. This anointing is depicted in the7 candlesticks seen in Moses Tabernacle. This piece of furniture item was located in the Holy place. This anointing is also depicted in the Book of Revelation as it is positioned before the throne of God (Rev 4:5). This is the measure of anointing that came upon Christ at His unveiling at the Jordan River (Luk 3:21-22). It is the full measure of the Holy Spirit that came upon Jesus as opposed to a measure of the Spirit that came upon the disciples at the time of Pentecost. The fruits of the Holy Spirit take time to develop in the life of a believer.
There is the fruit of faith as well as a gift of faith (Gal 5:22-23, 1 Cor 12:9). The gifts of the Spirit can come upon a believer at a given time to deal with a particular situation. When one is governed by the fruit of the Spirit they are flowing in a continuous and abiding anointing. Their life is a manifestation of that fruit in everything they do. As we walk in the Spirit and not after the ways of the flesh we grow more and more into the likeness of Christ. This is the “godliness” that Peter refers to in his 8 steps to perfection (2 Pet 1:5-7). In short, the 7 Spirits of God convey the characteristics of the Person of the Holy Spirit. This is an anointing we should ever seek after.
The Holy Spirit is a person; He is the 3rd person of the godhead who helps to bring to pass the purposes and pleasure of the Father. He is the one who allowed the Son of God to be conceived in the womb of Mary as Jesus became the Son of Man. It was through Him that Jesus was able to live as a man and offer Himself before God as the sinless sacrifice (Heb 9:14). It was through the Holy Spirit that Jesus was able to be raised up from the dead to ascend on high. He is the same Holy Spirit who is able to work within our lives in a similar way. The 7 Spirit of God anointing as represented by the candlestick is not automatically given to believers; it requires a pressing into the Holy Place (spiritually) where priestly attributes are revealed. God makes this privilege and anointing available to any believer but it requires a choosing and qualifying by way of one’s walk with God. The majority of Christianity is based on the Outer Court; may God place within us the desire to press into the Holy Place and Holiest of all. The fact that Jesus is mentioned as a descendant of David provides a key in how we can become a partaker of this anointing. David loved the presence of God and he did whatever it took to abide daily with the Lord.
In verses 3-4 we see some of the fruits of what this anointing produces. First, He had an understanding of the heart of His Father. When one walks under the anointing of the Fear of the Lord he or she has an awareness of His presence at all times. There is a sensitivity that can discern when God is pleased or displeased concerning situations. They come to know the heart and mind of God. Secondly, they have an ability to judge situations in righteousness. Jesus could discern what was within man due to this anointing.
Joh 2:25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
The anointing that covered Jesus as the Son of Man is the same anointing that is made available for the church. It requires a pressing into the ways of God, a dying to self and the flesh and ability to yield daily to the Spirit (Rom 8:1). Many are disqualified due to their unwillingness to yield to the Spirit in certain areas of their lives. When Truth confronts them they hide or point the finger of blame elsewhere. Remember, in coming to know and acknowledge the Truth we come to the place of being set free (Joh 8:32). In verse 5 we are presented a further description of the Lord in His ability to walk in righteousness and as being one who exudes faithfulness. His life served as an example of the righteous, holy and true God.
In verses 6-8 there is a description given as to what it will be like at the time of the 2nd coming and millennial reign of Christ. One of the fruits of the curse is that certain animals in God’s creation came under a vicious and cruel nature. Today, you cannot put a wolf and a lamb in the same proximity. The creation was affected by the fall of Adam. When Christ returns there will be a harmony and peace restored that will enable the lion and lamb to abide together. The nature that is characterized by viciousness will be destroyed at the time of his coming. When reading some of the events in Revelation you see how evil man will take on this vicious nature in greater measure. In fact, you see it today. Those who oppose God are going to become increasingly angry and aggressive in their demeanour. The fruits of the wicked one are at a direct variance with the fruits of the manifestation of the sons and daughters of God.
In verse 9 Isaiah speaks to what the millennial reign of Christ will be like. It is an expression that is also found in Hab 2:14 where it speaks of the knowledge of God filling the whole earth as the waters cover the seas. Isaiah then speaks to events that characterize the church age as we see the Gentiles coming into the kingdom (vs 10). It is amazing to see how comprehensive Isaiah is in his prophetic ministry. He can flow through the different life stages of Christ and different prophetic timelines with an ease and grace that can only come via the anointing.
In verses 11-16 Isaiah depicts the different periods of Restoration that Israel will come to know as a nation. There was the first return that would take place after the fall of Babylon. (An event that was soon to come) There is also the literal return and restoration that will be seen in the last days. Isaiah speaks to both time periods in the lead up to the 2nd coming of Christ.
God will bring comfort to Israel at the time of the 2nd coming. One of the purposes for the tribulation is to purge Israel of its sins. The sins that brought Israel to Babylon will be atoned for as well as the sin of their rejection of the Messiah. The wrath and anger of God that is visible in the days of Isaiah and in the days of the Lord’s first advent will give way to comfort and healing at the commencement into the millennium. We must understand that until that time there will be great judgments poured out upon Jerusalem due to their rejection of the Messiah. We will also see that at the time of the antichrist Israel will be complicit in the killing of the two witnesses (Moses and Elijah-Rev 11). Still, the healing and restoration of God to His beloved nation Israel will be such a momentous event at the time of the millennium. The Living God will become the song of Israel as seen in verse 2.
The church has been given the privilege of being able to drink from the well of salvation these past 2000 years. Israel was cut off from the promise due to its rejection of the Messiah. Paul referred to this when he wrote to the Romans.
Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Rom 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
By the way, verse 3 is another beautiful charismatic song that we sung in my early years as a believer. Israel will be given this joy and blessing at the time of its restoration. In verses 4-6 there will be a song of triumphant praise that will go forth. The purposes and plans that God had for Israel from the beginning will be realized. I just have to bring this up again but verses 4-6 represents another song I learned as an early believer. Both of the songs cited in this short chapter captures the essence and spirit of what Isaiah is writing about. I look forward to singing them once again in the days to come.
Make mention that His name is Exalted, Make mention that his name is exalted; For He has done excellent things, this is known in all the earth. Cry out and SHOUT ye inhabitants of Zion, Cry out and SHOUT ye inhabitants of Zion; For Great is the Holy One , Great is the Holy One of Israel.
In his final address to Titus, Paul speaks of the importance of how one is to relate to authority figures. We have mentioned earlier as to the authority structure that God has created. The best example is seen in the godhead. They are united in purpose and actions but everything flows from under the authority of the father. We are to respect government leaders, our employers, teachers or anyone who is placed in a position of authority. The challenge comes when we are subjected to authority figures who are not upright. How far do we go in honouring them? A guiding set of verses that should ever be before us is found in Rom 13:1-2.
Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Rom 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
It is God who places authorities and rulers in positions of authority. This does not mean that we have to always obey their commands. The three friends of Daniel refused to bow down to the image of the king when everyone else conformed (Dan 3). There will be times when we will need the wisdom of God to safely navigate through such evil times. Paul goes on to say that we are to speak evil of no man, to not be brawlers or contentious while exuding the fruit of meekness. There is a high price to pay in having such an anointing. If one is flowing in the fruit of meekness there is no need for the assertion of personal rights or privileges. This person sees God at work in every situation; or put another way it is a holy acceptance of all circumstances. This is what David came to know when he had the opportunity to kill Saul on two different occasions. He was able to view Saul as God’s anointed, even though he was after his life.
Paul speaks of what his former life was like before Christ. He knew what it was like to be foolish, disobedient and filled with hate. He also knew what it was like when the love of God came into his heart (vs 3-4). It was a sovereign act of grace and it was through his love that Paul’s life was transformed. He came to know of the mercies of God and the renewing work of the Holy Spirit. Paul became a love slave to Jesus and as a result saw himself as a debtor to all men (Rom 1:14). It is this same love that can allow Titus and Timothy to faithfully fulfil God’s calling upon their lives. Paul accomplished many great things in his ministry for the Lord but he always attributed these works to God’s grace and mercy (1 Cor 15:10). These reminders can never be sounded out enough. If we ever accomplish anything for God it will be solely due to His grace. Here he is placing the emphasis on having humility and humbleness of mind (Col 3:12).
Paul gives Titus advice on the kind of men and situations that should be avoided (vs 9-10). One should not get caught up in foolish questions concerning genealogies and strivings concerning the law. He was also advised to stay away from heretics and those who pursue things that in the end serve no eternal purpose. The church in recent years has become overly involved in politics which has diminished its power and legitimacy. Yes, we are to take an interest in our political leaders and their policies but we must be careful about becoming entangled in the political system. It is an arena where the enemy can work to frustrate the purposes of the church. We must hear from God and receive His direction and guidance.
Throughout this final chapter we have seen Paul place a strong emphasis on good works. There must be evidence of good works in our lives as a minister but it is not the criterion that saves us. The fruits of good works should be a natural outflow of a life that is wholly dependent upon God. The fruit of good works does serve as a testimony and witness to the faithfulness of God. In the end we must understand that God is after fruit that has been produced within our lives, namely the fruit of the Spirit. If we live our lives faithfully for Him the fruit of good works will be observed and partaken of for the Lord’s glory and honor. This is the hallmark of a true minister. Paul had much fruit to present to the Lord as he comes towards the end of his life. It was his desire to see fruitfulness abounding in his junior ministers as they were about to build upon the foundation that he established before them.